Not a great Holiday for the Big 12
Notes on a scorecard from Oklahoma State’s 42-31 loss to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl:
1. Suddenly, the Big 12′s reputation isn’t so great. Two bowl games, 1-1 record. An unimpressive victory and a discouraging loss. Kansas is up next, in the Insight Bowl against Minnesota.
In both games, the Big 12 got pushed around a little bit. Oregon obviously was more physical than OSU. The Ducks ran for 307 yards, OSU for 119. Missouri couldn’t run against Northwestern, either.
Is the spread-it-out Big 12 a little on the soft side? It’s worth considering.
2. In retrospect, the question might not be how did OSU lose, but how did OSU play so close? Oregon had plays of 76, 41, 40, 29, 50, 31 and 47 yards, plus TD runs of 20 and 17 yards, plus another 19-yard gain. That’s 370 yards on 10 snaps. That will get you beat every time.
OSU’s defense actually stood its ground much of the night, notably the goal-line stand in the fourth quarter that at least gave the Cowboys a chance. But you can’t give up cross-country plays.
3. Injuries hurt OSU big-time, but injuries had nothing to do with the Cowboys’ failures on two chances that would have tilted the game the other way.
In the first half, with a 17-7 lead, Zac Robinson underthrew Dez Bryant in the end zone. Dez came back and made a great try on the catch and had it, but the ball came loose as he hit the ground. Make a slightly better throw, or hold onto that catch, and OSU is up 24-7 early in the second quarter. Instead, Dan Bailey missed a field goal.
Then in the third quarter, OSU up 17-14, the Cowboys reach the Oregon 12-yard line. OSU runs a nice throwback play, with Brandon Pettigrew wide open, but Robinson misses him for what almost surely would have been a touchdown. The next snap, interception. Uh-oh. To me, that was the turning point of the game.
4. Does anyone else think Dez reminds them of Randy Moss? Big and fast and able to catch the ball in all kinds of traffic. I’m not saying anything about Dez’s behavior, just his ballplaying ability.
With that said, I thought all season the Cowboys zoned in on Dez too much. When he went down, the Cowboys seemed lost.
State already was short-handed at receiver, with the dismissal of Jeremy Broadway. But spreading the wealth wouldn’t be a bad plan next season. Damian Davis has shown he can be very effective, and frankly, wide receiver is the easiest position to find in college football.
5. Another game, another kick return switches all momentum. Missouri got to overtime against Northwestern thanks in large part to Jeremy Maclin’s punt return for a touchdown. Oregon wiped out a 17-7 halftime lead quickly thanks to Walter Thurmond’s 91-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
6. I know Robinson’s shoulder was hurt, and he gamely played on. And we’ve already talked up about misfires that could have changed the game.
But here was a huge sequence. OSU led 24-21 midway through the third quarter, which had to be the longest 15 minutes in college football history — each team had SIX possessions in the third period.
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